Relapse is something I have been lucky enough not to experience since coming to AA, although I am certain I relapsed time and time again while still actively drinking.
I hear a lot about relapse in meetings and have seen so many people who have gone through this. There is no doubt that they suffer great pain but a lot of people do say that they need to experience that pain or their “rock bottom” before they could truly let go and get sober.
Some newer members of AA relapse again and again and again. It still amazes me the pain our mind and bodies can endure as human beings.
During my drinking days I went through many periods of time where I would swear off alcohol, never again etc…… I could never maintain abstinence for any period of time. So then I started to do Dry January. Once I got past the white knuckle phase I would actually recognise how much better I would feel and how much better I would sleep.
One year I lasted 6 weeks, as I was challenged to do this and if I succeeded extra money would be sent to charity. I did it. Within days of achieving this I then quickly went back to my old ways.
I would have the misgiving that, due to my period of abstinence, I would then be able to go on and drink in moderation. A bit like those who tell me that when they relapse, I just began drinking like I always had and then it escalated….. it was like ripping off a plaster and relishing in the pain.
What I need to be sure of is that, if I consider these times were my relapses, is that I am still not immune. I am only ever one arms length away from another alcoholic drink, I just hope that I can recognise the warning signs to prevent any relapse happening.